Friday, December 23, 2005

The Star Wars Saga

The transit strike is over. It was like house arrest. It's five miles to work, Renee has the car in another state and it's twenty degrees outside. So I stayed in. I got a lot of projects done that have needed attention for too long. And I came up with a few dumb ideas. Like watching the entire Star Wars saga. I've always wondered if the whole thing fit together as seamlessly as George Lucas tells me it does. Now I know. (all images are from )

Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace
This is a bad movie. Just bad. I've watched it at least ten times and it doesn't get any better. I think I understand it now. Lucas was trying to show us a happy galaxy before the Empror ruined it. Unfortunately, he confused happy with stupid. And funny with Jar Jar.

This has the least amount of story of them all. What do we learn that helps us? Anakin was a little kid. The Emperor was a senator. And C3PO was a work in progress. So what? And does anyone want to tell me why the pod race lasts over three laps? Does that help the story? What there was of it? Ewan McGregor would be good if they let him do anything. And Liam Neeson is good but he's good in everything. Better to watch him be good in Schindler's List or Batman Begins. Darth Maul is cool looking but ultimately he's not a character at all. He's a tattoo.

Rating: It doesn't deserve a rating.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Epiosde I is so bad it keeps sucking through the first hour of Episode II. Ewan McGregor is the Harrison Ford of this first trilogy. You can really tell in the second act because his scenes are the only ones of any interest. As for the other ones? Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen make their love scenes look like a high school play. That you keep trying to sneak out of. Even though your kid is in it.

But at least we're actually in the Star Wars universe. There are stormtroopers and Jedi and Boba Fett. And Christopher Lee always helps. Once the actual Clone War starts, it's pretty good. That's 20 minutes of a two and a half hour movie.

Rating: What do you think, 2?

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The best of the original trilogy. Which is to say it's almost good. It actually gets off to a great start then dies right on the screen thanks to Lucas' approach to character; wooden dialogue and stillborn pacing. It takes another hour to pick back up. And Lucas isn't funny. He's way too broad and sucks all the tension out of the action scenes. General Grevious (a really cool design) comes off as a buffoon right off the bat.

Hayden Christiansen can't play brooding or happy but he can play mean. Once he turns into Darth Vader and kills nearly the entire cast, you can see the purpose of this entire trilogy. Although the first two films don't add much. My recommendation if you've never seen Star Wars is to still start with the original trilogy. Then if you want to, watch only Episode III. If you completely fall in love with Star Wars, then watch all six before you buy any merchandise.

Rating: Half past pretty good.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Any future generation who thinks Episode I was made first will get a huge slap in the face from the opening of the 1977 classic. You might as well tell them Godzilla was made before Frankenstein. This is a 70's film through and through. It has a gritty reality to it that the first trilogy doesn't. Lucas will tell you it's because the Empire has taken over. I say it's because he was using minatures and props instead of nonstop cg animation. There's crap on the floor of the spaceships and fingerprints on the droids. And I think anyone who's never seen it before will catch the few cg enhancements a mile away.

There's also a simplicity of story here that the other five don't even attempt. There's mention of the Senate and the Emperor but we don't get twenty minutes of motions and commitees like the first trilogy. Instead we get C3PO and R2-D2 scared shitless by Jawas. And I prefer it that way. Screw Episode I, this is where it all starts. And where you should too.

Rating: You kidding? It's a freaking classic!

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Oh man, this one's good. George Lucas gave up directing and shared the writing chores on this and it completely paid off. The characters are three dimensional, the jokes are funny, the Imperial theme kicks the ass of the main theme and every time the heroes are in a white place, bad things happen. This is the movie that cemented my obsession with the Star Wars universe as a boy. The subsequent films would crush that obsession.

They overdub John Ratzenberger's voice in this. Not fair but he'd have his revenge with every PIXAR movie. And Carrie Fisher had already destroyed her looks with cocaine. She's aged 10 years in the 3 between these films. Minor flaws to an almost perfect film.

Rating: Holy freaking crap in a solid gold toilet.

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

What happened? This is supposed to be the climax to the greatest film saga ever. Why is it such a squishy turd? You got Jabba the Hutt and speeder bikes. That's it. Even the lightsaber fight is lackluster. And somehow when Mark Hamill tries to play badass, he just comes off as gay.

I get the feeling that everyone stopped caring by this point. Harrison Ford wanted to be Indiana Jones. ILM wanted to be Henson. George Lucas wanted to get through his divorce. And the director he hired wanted to please too much. The end result is simply weak. Which is almost an anagram for Ewok. Makes you think.

Rating: Meh. Definitively meh.

So is it all one story? Oh God no. Lord of the Rings is one story. This is six. Two if you're feeling generous. That doesn't mean it's not worth watching. Even the crappiest movie (Episode I) has its moments. And both the original and Empire Strikes Back are great films that stand the test of time.

Storywise, it's fairly cohesive with very few inconsistencies. It certainly makes more sense than the four Alien films or the seven Nightmare on Elm Streets. But telling someone they were all written together? You wouldn't fool a potted plant with massive head trauma on that one.

Thank God the strike is over.


Dave said...

Damn right. The second trilogy of Star Wars was teh biggest piece of shite to ever make its way into a movie theatre. I would rather watch Steel Magnolias back to back all day, then suffer through any of those horrible films. Bad. Just bad.

Walker said...

One more of you fuckers bad mouth's Star Wars and you better start looking over your shoulder. Next Hamburgers and Grill Cheese will suck. Strippers and Dope belong in Rock-N-Roll,Woody Allen is funnier than that other meatball and Star Wars is for still GREAT and for kids (I know because my son just walked past with Gen.Grievous mumbling something about Lego Star Wars Video Game) Enough of these Commie Rants,smell the coffee before you pay $10 a cup for it. Good Grief, I need a bowl of Count Chocula.

Dave said...

Star Wars wasn't always for kids, as Jon so eloquently pointed out, there was a serious tone with the first trilogy that got completely lost with the 2nd crap-trio of flicks. Lucas pimped his ass out to sell a bunch of merchandise that flopped because even kids knew that the lame special effects that they cooked up in free lovin' Cali' couldn't help a half-baked-no-talent-plot claw its way out of a toilet bowl. And btw, Strippers and Dope DO belong in Rock N' Roll, Wood Allen hasn't shown me shit in years, I won't pay $10 for any drink and yes, I will take a bowl of Count Chocula!!

Walker said...

Let's agree on this....Strippers and dope belong in rock, and Count Chocula is tasty......I also like big boobies. That serious tone is nonsense that "we"(the kids from our generation applied to a kids movie to validate our stupid attachment to it)(Chewie is a giant dog....for crist-sake)(don't start quoting "The Power of Myth)Have a Happy Christmas. Frankenberries are for Facists

Brian Kunath said...

Guys, guys, guys. I see both of your points. And if I may have a moment to encapsulate what you're trying to say, it'll help everyone.

OK. To your point, Dave, the recent batch of Star Wars movies sucked with a capital CGI. On the other hand, Walker suggests that we're merely looking at the first three entries through the rose colored glasses of 30-something nostalgia. They weren't all that good, says Walker.

So, combining your two points, I think we can conclude the following: They all sucked. Every last stinkin' one of them -- from the muppet villians of the earlier three films to the soulless, video game heroes of the latter trio.

I'm glad we all agree on this.

Furthermore, let me just say that "strippers," or "exotic dance professionals," as I believe they should be respectfully called, have long been subjugated by...just kidding, strippers are awesome, especially when doped up.

Jon Clarke said...

I love this blog.

Dave said...

The Great Mediator, Brian Kunath, has spoken. I will concede that all of Star Wars sucks, strippers and dope have a rightful place at throne of Rock, and Count Chocula will forever grace my breakfast table.

Wicket said...

Here here!

I agree with Mr. Kunath's views on strippers, dope, and Count Chocula - but that's where it ends.

Obviously none of you realize just how hard it was to break into the bunker during the Battle of Endor or are aware of the constant prejudices we, as members of the Ewok race, must constantly fight to overcome. Need prove? Just look at what I found on the web after searching for not even 2 MINUTES for Force's sake!

Much like the Jews, my people have done many great & honorable things for this universe, but yet continue to be persecuted and targeted for ridicule! We are not ashamed that we are decedents of Muppets – nay, we are proud of our ancestors! And let NO BEING ever forget that it was our great cousin Grover who first taught everyone to be decent to one another.

Thank you,

Wicket W. Warrick

Is it so hard for someone to simply say "thank you" for saving the universe?

cromely said...

You're all wrong. What's the matter with you people? How can you be so far off?!! Have you lost all commons sense? You don't know what you are talking about!!!

Count Chocula is fine. But your are ignoring Booberry.


Only availavle in October. And it makes the milk Blue.

It's all about the Booberry.